The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings are set to begin on February 5 in Nashville, Tennessee, for a three-day event. The “big three” issues of the Winter Meetings are Ohtani’s free agency, the posting status of Japan’s top ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and the Juan Soto trade.
Of these, the most hotly debated issue is which team Ohtani will sign with.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are still considered the most likely destination. Given their ability to win at any given time, their geographic location on the Pacific Coast near Japan, their deep pockets to spend as they please, and their vested interest in the familiarity and comfort of LA after six years of living there, no team can beat them. The San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs are also known to be in the running for Ohtani, but the general consensus is that the Dodgers are hard to beat.
First and foremost, the Dodgers want Ohtani badly. In fact, it’s been suggested that one of the reasons the Dodgers waited out free agency last winter was to raise money to sign Ohtani.
As ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweeted today, “The battle for Ohtani could soon be wrapped up with an astronomical contract, the largest in history. The Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets, who were initially interested in Ohtani, have turned their attention to other players, leaving the Dodgers, Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels in the mix, with one source saying Ohtani will receive at least $550 million and another saying it could reach $600 million.레모나토토 주소
ESPN previously reported on March 12 that “the Ohtani free agency saga is unlikely to last long. Numerous general managers who spoke to ESPN said they got the sense he’s going to make a decision sooner than expected,” and that it could be finalized before the Winter Meetings are over.
According to local reports, Ohtani is expected to sign with the Dodgers for $500 million to $600 million before the Winter Meetings end on July 7.
In the meantime, local media outlet The Athletic published an article titled “Shohei Ohtani’s brand – his free-agent value – is as big in business as it is in baseball” on Jan. 1. According to the article, the team that acquires him will benefit more from marketing than team performance and crowd mobilization.
Ken Rosenthal, who wrote the article, said, “Ohtani is more than just a good baseball player. He’s a cultural phenomenon that transcends baseball, the Taylor Swift of baseball, or at least the Lionel Messi of baseball.” “Maybe his free agency is all a ploy, a leverage play, to extract as much money as possible from the team of his choice – the Dodgers, for example.
Rosenthal, too, sees the Dodgers as the most likely destination.
“Every team sees the Japanese two-hit superstar as an opportunity to make a lot of money by dramatically increasing the value of their franchise,” Rosenthal writes, “and while it’s unclear what Ohtani’s pitching future holds, the business side of the equation at least makes sense to give him the biggest contract of his career.
While the Angels have missed the postseason for the last nine years in a row, experts say the team’s value has increased significantly during Ohtani’s six-year tenure.
The Angels haven’t enjoyed much of the Ohtani effect in terms of crowd mobilization. After 17 consecutive years of 3 million-plus attendance from 2003 through 2019, just before the coronavirus pandemic, the Angels had an uneventful season in 2020 and have steadily climbed from 1.51 million to 2.45 million to 2.64 million since 2021, but are still far from 3 million. This is due to the team’s poor performance, not Otana’s lack of ticket power.
As Rosenthal explains, “The Angels’ lack of attendance growth is due to eight consecutive losing seasons. But regardless of attendance, the Angels have benefited from the Ohtani effect in terms of revenue, with ESPN estimating that Ohtani’s marketing revenue is in the tens of millions of dollars a year.
“If the Dodgers or Yankees landed Ohtani, it wouldn’t change the box office, which already draws more than 3 million people, but it would be a huge boost in marketing, sponsorships, and local radio and television advertising,” he said. In other words, the Dodgers would have to find a business reason to go “all in” on Ohtani.
Ohtani has been racking up the awards this offseason. In addition to becoming the first player in major league history to win a second unanimous MVP award, he won the Silver Slugger AL Designated Hitter of the Year Award, the Edgar Martinez Award for the best designated hitter, and the AL Outstanding Player in the Major League Baseball Players Union’s Players Choice Award.
He is entering free agency with a much higher value than in 2021, when he won his first unanimous MVP award.
If Ohtani chooses the Dodgers, he will be in front of Korean fans at the opening game of the Major League Baseball season in Seoul on March 20-21 next year, when the Dodgers take on the San Diego Padres.